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6 octobre 2015 2 06 /10 /octobre /2015 17:50
Les centrales nucléaires vulnérables aux cyberattaques


6 octobre 2015 45eNord.ca (AFP)


L’industrie nucléaire, en retard dans la prévention du risque technologique, constitue une cible particulièrement vulnérable aux cyberattaques, elles-mêmes de plus en plus répandues et sophistiquées, selon un rapport publié lundi.


Les acteurs de l’industrie nucléaire «commencent, mais ont du mal, à lutter contre cette nouvelle menace insidieuse», analyse le groupe de réflexion britannique Chatham House dans une étude reposant sur 18 mois d’enquête.

L’institut estime que les centrales nucléaires «manquent de préparation pour affronter une urgence en matière de cybersécurité, dans un incident de grande ampleur, et auraient du mal coordonner une réponse adéquate».

En cause : un financement insuffisant de cette prévention, un manque de formation, de normes réglementaires et de culture de la cybersécurité, l’utilisation croissante du numérique dans les systèmes d’exploitation des centrales et le recours à des logiciels de série peu onéreux, mais plus vulnérables au piratage, observe le rapport.

Chatham House dénonce le «mythe répandu» selon lequel les centrales nucléaires seraient protégées parce qu’elles ne seraient pas connectées à internet.

Dans les faits, de nombreuses installations ont progressivement mis en place une forme de connectivité et leurs systèmes informatiques peuvent être piratés par des moyens parfois très simples.

Ainsi, le virus Stuxnet, qui avait perturbé le fonctionnement de sites nucléaires iraniens en 2010, avait été implanté au moyen d’un périphérique USB. Selon Chatham House, cette attaque est devenue une référence dans le monde des cybercriminels et leur a permis d’améliorer leur technique.

«Une fois que l’existence de Stuxnet a été connue, explique le rapport, les pirates à travers le monde se sont inspirés de son fonctionnement et ont incorporé certaines de ses fonctionnalités à leurs propres logiciels à visée malveillante».

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 10:50
Building a British Military Fit for Future Challenges Rather then Past Conflicts


15 September 2015 by General Sir Nicholas Houghton - Ministry of Defence


General Sir Nicholas Houghton gives his personal views ahead of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)


Well it is a great pleasure to be here tonight. Chatham House enjoys international respect for the quality of its independent and critical thought. So it is, I believe, wholly appropriate that, as part of the Ministry of Defence’s public engagement on the Strategic Defence and Security Review I share some thoughts with you this evening.

It is also important to, I think, reflect that this talk falls on the formal 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. I say this because I wholly revere, as I hope do we all, the remarkable contribution of the Royal Air Force to protecting our country from an undeniably existential threat 75 years ago.

But it is also somewhat ironic that in 2015, this SDSR year, we as a country are spending so much of our national time in emotional reflection on war. Agincourt, Waterloo, Gallipoli, the Battle of Britain, Iraq, Afghanistan. Next year we will commemorate Jutland. For various no doubt immaculate reasons wars or battles such as these have been branded on our national psyche.

As a result I sometimes worry that many have come to view our Armed Forces solely through the optic of war. Our utility has come to be assessed through individual and collective audits of war’s occasionally questionable benefits. This, I strongly believe, hugely misjudges the beneficial utility of military power.

So, if I have a more personal aspiration for this talk, and for the SDSR more generally, it is to bring about a re-imagining of the utility of the Nation’s Armed Forces. Rather than view them through the optic of fighting wars; view them through the optic of the wars we avoid having to fight; the stability we help assure; the prosperity we help achieve; and the liberty and open society we help ensure.

Because, as I will attempt to explain, many of the threats we face today are not existential to our survival as a nation in the classic physical sense. But they are existential to our way of life; to our prosperity, our national values, our individual liberty and to our sense of our nation’s place in the world. These threats will take a particular and bespoke strategy to defeat, or at least to ameliorate.

As I say this talk is part of our public engagement on the SDSR, so it is meant to be a catalyst for questions and inputs to a process that still has perhaps its most interesting and challenging phases ahead of it. For, although it has been underway for some time, there is much left to be decided. Specifically there are some important decisions to be made about our national ambition; our national risk appetite; some hard choices on capability options; and also on what we call security postures… or how we use and employ our national security capabilities.

One thing I would say at the outset is that, in very stark contrast to where we might have been, this Summer’s budget settlement for Defence has given us the opportunity to make choices in this SDSR which are about betterment rather than decline; about reviewing the scale and nature of the security risks to the country and reducing them. This is hugely welcome.

But this does not make this SDSR an easy ride. Far from it. As I will indicate, over the last five years the world has become a far more, not less, dangerous place. It has become ever more difficult to distinguish between transient threats of a non-existential nature and those threats which pose a more enduring danger to our national interest over time.

And although the financial settlement for Defence is real and welcome, its most significant benefits will only materialise in the later years of this parliament. The early benefits lay in a much better-founded ability to deliver the programme envisaged in SDSR 2010. Capability enhancements will rely heavily on new efficiencies which we are now incentivised to achieve and in our ability to compete successfully for the new £1.5 billion Joint Security Fund.

The SDSR will inevitably lead, by the end of the year, to a number of choices about capability. Those choices will, in the main, be made on the grounds of political judgements about national ambition, security risk tolerance and available resources.

In offering such choices to government, officials across Whitehall are trying to create the best possible informed judgements about the risks we must contend with, our national interests, the national security objectives that will deliver those interests, and the policy and capability choices which will best secure those objectives given the global security context which confronts us.

It is not my aim tonight to give you a comprehensive view of where we have progressed with this complex synthesis. Rather I want to give you my sense of the global security context; to draw some deductions from that context; and finally to describe some of the capability and posture choices that derive from those deductions and about which some very difficult decisions will have to be made.

So let me start with the global security context. This is a personal not departmental formulation, it is delivered from personal judgement, a military perspective and is devoid of the optimism bias that some can indulge in. I offer seven thematic observations. The context is one of uncertainty; of instability; of significant threat diversification; of an increasing complexity in inter-state relationships; of the advent of the power of the narrative; of ever greater constraint on the use of force; and of an ever more revealed mis-match between the capabilities we have and those that we need to meet the multiple demands of the current operating environment. I will just start by offering a few words on each.

The uncertainty which continues to endure is borne of the inevitability of change. That change is driven by at least two strategic factors. The first is the relative decline in economic and demographic terms of what you might call Old Europe and the seemingly inevitable rise of the Asia-Pacific region.

The second factor driving uncertainty is the first indications that America may be starting to realise the finite nature of her own power and particularly her ability, or societal willingness, to remain the external security guarantor of three regions of the world: Europe; the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific. However premature such a judgement is, it is nevertheless a cause of uncertainty in the regions that may be affected.

My second observation of the global security context is the prevalence of instability. Instability defines the Middle East and both North and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is China’s greatest internal threat. It is increasingly the condition of Russia’s near abroad. It is not confined to land alone, but is a maritime phenomenon in the Gulf of Guinea, the Mediterranean, the East and South China Seas and elsewhere.

The pervading condition of instability and the individual despair that it generates is one of the causes of mass migration. But, perhaps, the more important thing to recognise is that one of the strongest drivers of this instability is a sense, amongst several nations and at least one great religion, that the current world order denies them a sense of their historic entitlement and to the enjoyment of their rightful place in the world. In some ways we are inextricably a part of an upheaval in the balance of power between states over-time and in other ways we are seeing the state-based model of international order challenged by other views of how the world should be arranged.

My third observation is of the diversification of threats. It probably holds true that an existential threat to the United Kingdom in classic, symmetrical, force-on-force, terms is still remote. But Russia now presents a threat in more novel ways to several of our NATO Allies; and potentially, if not handled well, to the coherence of NATO as an Alliance. In some of our responses we must be careful not to assume that Russia’s rationality mirrors our own.

More widely the threats from in particular terrorism, but also from cyber attack, organised crime, mass migration, natural disaster, energy shortages and much else, all continue to increase. And the emerging outcome of the government review of national security risks, is that we confront a greater range of more serious threats than five years ago; and these threats could manifest themselves in compound form.

My next observation is that the nature of inter-state relationships grows ever more complex as global interdependencies increase. It is absolutely possible for two countries to be in a state of cooperation, competition, confrontation and conflict at one and the same time. Economic cooperation goes hand in hand with competition for trade and markets. Localised and regionalised confrontation over unresolved land disputes abound. Conflict dominates deniable activity in cyberspace. It no longer holds true that our enemy’s enemy is our friend. Reflect, if you will, on Syria, Iraq, Iran and Da’ish.

My fifth observation relates to the significant increase in the power of a potent narrative. This is but one element of Information Age Warfare. Through most of history the primary purpose of military operations has been achieved through physical activity. Physical activity, destruction and geographic advantage has been the means to influence the cognitive domain of war. But nowadays almost all acts of physical violence come with an on-line component, exploiting social networks to manipulate opinion and perception. The tactics employed by Russia in Ukraine, Estonia and Georgia, include combinations of information warfare, cyber activity, counter-intelligence, espionage, economic warfare and the sponsorship of proxies.

In Syria, Iraq and increasingly in our own homelands, Da’ish’s use of messaging and propaganda is more potent than its actual conventional military capability. Da’ish uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in 23 different languages. The information age, more widely, permits adversaries unconstrained by western policy, ethical and legal codes, to exploit and assault our vulnerabilities.

My final two observations are borne primarily of reflection on our own national condition, but they are shared in part or in full by many other western nations. The first is that we are experiencing ever greater constraints on our freedom to use force.

Some of these constraints relate to advances in the technological competence of potential enemies and their ability to generate anti-access and area denial capabilities. But the more worrying constraints on the use of force lay in the areas of societal support, parliamentary consent and ever greater legal challenge.

Such constraints are particularly significant when the desire to commit to the use of force is in support of operations which some may consider discretionary to the national interest. And such constraints may impact on our ability to generate deterrence, which wholly depends on the perceivable credibility of our willingness to use force if necessary. My point here is that if a nation’s assumed willingness to commit to the use of force is only in the face of national survival, then we encourage rather than deter revisionist states and their own ambitions.

My final observation is the growing potential mis-match between the current silhouette of Armed Forces capability and the growing demand for action in a contemporary environment constantly requiring effective responses to crisis. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of the intelligence and strike assets needed to counter terrorism at range. To some our Armed Forces remain stubbornly optimised for episodic combat at scale, whereas the contemporary environment demands multiple, concurrent responses of high readiness force packages optimised for a whole range of crises: from striking terrorists to eliminating Ebola.

What deductions should we draw from all of this? Well my first deduction is really drawn from the first two observations: the inevitability of change and the prevalence of instability brought about by the challenges to the current global order.

The simple fact is that, seen over time, the United Kingdom has done pretty well out of the post 1945, post Cold-War, international settlement and the rules based system which is part of that. Our remarkable retention of geo-political status, relative prosperity and our enviable open society rests significantly on our ability to retain that rules based system and the global stability that is needed to underpin it.

So we must be careful to balance our Defence and Security responses between those threats which demand immediate action and those threats which present as a more incremental but potentially more enduring danger to our national interest over time.

Personally I remain convinced that the Grand Strategic security challenge of the age for the United Kingdom, is how we manage to accommodate the change that is inevitable, whilst at the same time maintaining the stability of the global commons and the rules based international system on which our prosperity, status and open society absolutely depend.

My second deduction is that there is no longer a simple distinction between war and peace. We are in a state of permanent engagement in a global competition. To win or even survive in such a competition means that all the instruments of national power need constantly to be in play. In this context we do need to re-imagine the utility of the Armed Forces beyond the simple construct of fighting wars or preparing for the next one.

To an extent non-war fighting tasks such as deterrence, reassurance, capacity building, peace-keeping, stabilisation and Defence engagement have always been features of what our Armed Forces have done. But, most recently at least, they have not been organised as a strategic endeavour in the context of our most vital national interest.

My third deduction is that most of the threats we face cannot be resolved by decisive military action alone. Terrorism, Hybrid War, Compound threats and War in the Information Age need sophisticated all-of-government approaches. Economic sanctions may prove a more effective lever than military coercion. The importance of a convincing strategic narrative is vital against the dis-information of Russia or the powerful seduction of extremist ideology, magnified as it is through the power of social media. And, across government, we need to organise even better to provide a harmonised response to the threats we face.

My fourth deduction is that we cannot face these threats alone. The importance of achieving collective security through alliances is vital to any enterprise that needs to be conducted at scale. It is also vital to our ability to manage risk in a context in which we simply cannot afford a national inventory to face all threats. In this context an effective NATO is essential, not least because NATO is the only organisation which can credibly integrate conventional and nuclear deterrence. But our other bi-lateral and multi-lateral arrangements are also important, and many of these we only achieve by retaining the status of, what I call, reference Armed Forces, capable of leading coalitions as well as acting independently in our own right.

My final deduction, and one I absolutely share with my fellow chiefs, is the need to be completely honest about the capability start point for this SDSR. In SDSR 2010, the financial crisis forced government to make some difficult choices when setting Future Force 2020. Specific risks were taken, warfighting resilience reduced, certain capability gaps accepted. The choices we make in this SDSR must both start to put this right, and we’ve already done that, and address the new threats we face.

So, my final set of comments relate to those choices. In outlining such choices to you I am not going to list a catalogue of pet projects. Rather I will offer them as packages of capability that address our requirements in generic terms. And I will also say something about postures.

The first set of capability choices lay in the requirement to make good some of our deficiencies in warfighting resilience. This is a broad menu. It stretches from adequate spares provision, to ammunition and missile holdings, to better force protection, to maximising the advantage of the current sunk costs in expensive platforms such as the carriers.

The second set of choices is to regain or sustain the organisational status of our Armed Forces in structural terms. In simple terms this means to fully develop the power-projection capability of the Maritime Taskgroup; to reprioritise the deployable Divisional level of manoeuvre of the Army; and to increase the available Combat Air Mass of the Air Force.

A significant amount of these first two choices can in effect be achieved through changes to structure and productivity rather than simply by buying new things. But we need to make these choices to underwrite and contribute to conventional deterrence, strategic influence and national ambition. Our choices in this respect, particularly in respect of resilience, also need to include infrastructure, manpower and training, so we ensure that the force does not become hollow. Particularly we need to address some of our critical manpower challenges. The greatest risks which the Defence Board faces relate to our ability to recruit and retain skilled people. This is a national not just Defence issue.

In the context of retaining strategic authority we will have some choices to make about de-risking the nuclear enterprise in respect of both its protection and the seamless delivery of a successor deterrent. I say this because we cannot afford to take risk against a deterrent the effectiveness of which fundamentally relies on its invulnerability and continuous availability. So this is non-discretionary.

But, to me, the most interesting package of choices in this SDSR lay in what we call the Joint Forces Command Proposition. Five years ago in SDSR 2010 the Joint Forces Command did not exist and, in the context of a response to the strategic shock of austerity, few people championed the cause of Joint Enablement. The advent of Joint Forces Command has meant we have already started to invest in this vital area.

We now need to build on this investment and increase our capacity to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition. Our capacity for multiple deployed Command and Control must increase in number and reduce in bulk. In combination our C4ISR must make possible operations in the information age: exploiting mega data, social media, processing power and miniaturisation.

We must also continue to reset the capabilities of our Special Forces to both achieve strategic insight and to restore a capacity for strategic strike at range, at speed and with enhanced security in otherwise denied areas.

Separately the JFC is the champion of our Cyber Defence and offensive capabilities and I strongly believe that, in offensive capability terms, we are still in the foothills of understanding and exploiting the potency of this new domain of warfare and the degree to which it might replace or complement more conventional approaches to deterrence, coercion and, if necessary, warfighting.

There is much more in the Joint Forces Command package. But I highlight its priority in this SDSR because to me it pulls a three card trick. It meets much of the immediate demand for enhanced counter terrorist capability; it enables the better exploitation of the conventional force structure; and it moves us into a greater realisation of the way to conduct warfare in the information age.

The final set of choices I would offer may not generate the headlines they deserve. But if we are going to stay ahead of the game then we need to spend more, and more wisely on innovation. Only through technical innovation, which properly harnesses the potential of robotics, microprocessing, novel materials and unmanned flight, to name but the most obvious, will we be able to maintain technological advantage, resolve the challenges of anti-access and area denial capability and address some of the long term issue of manpower costs. And our approach to innovation must be more than technical, it must be intellectual, temperamental and doctrinal as well.

In respect of how we posture our Armed Forces, we should reflect on my comments on the need to significantly enhance the pro-active use of a far greater amount of our capability. For example, more of the force structure will need to be active in protection, deterrence and reassurance tasks, including the more active protection of home waters and air space; and a greater routine contribution to NATO’s deterrent posture. We have neglected some aspects of homeland security beyond our responses to terrorism and particularly in the context of Critical National Infrastructure.

A second change in how we posture the force will be in how we contribute to shaping a more stable world. This is an amalgam of tasks which include Defence Engagement, Capacity Building, supporting regional strategies, working with allies and partners to enhance effective security. This will involve additional resources in order to maintain deployed footprints and fund enhanced activity levels. But such activity will also be a key enabler of Defence’s contribution to our wider national prosperity agenda.

But the third, and perhaps most significant change to force posture, will be in our preparedness to manage crisis through agile response. So, a force structure which must ultimately be capable of force projection at scale, must nevertheless optimise its routine posture so it is able to respond to the multiple, small scale demands, which are the defining feature of today’s operating environment. And some of this, through the mechanism of the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Force Pool, will be multinational by design.

Now, it will be very evident to you that the combination of capability choices and force posture options which I have outlined will most definitely aggregate to a resource bill that we cannot meet instantaneously. The capability choices will, therefore, need to be prioritised and the criteria for prioritisation are still in the process of agreement. Clearly, a priority must go to those capabilities which offer the ability to mitigate the most serious and proximate threats. Countering terrorism will be high on this list. The regulator will be the requirement to accept risk elsewhere; and we must do this consciously. An SDSR cannot resolve all our security problems in a moment. Strategic patience will be a virtue.

I cannot yet judge how this SDSR will turn out in respect of the detailed outcomes. But I do have considerable faith that the intellectual framework to deliver a coherent outcome is in place. If I have one residual concern it is that, in our haste to realise efficiency in order to improve capability, we will inflict self-harm in respect of our manpower. We must guard against this, since a failure to attract and retain talent is the most serious risk to our overall capability and, therefore, our national security.

And, finally; I do worry that some people will aspire for an SDSR of falsely assumed perfection, one which delivers a single strategic outcome in which Ends, Ways and Means are locked in perfect harmony and which does not need to be worried about for another five years. I do not believe that the contemporary world allows for such an approach.

Strategy, to me, like helicopter flight, is inherently unstable and often very noisy. Our approach must be adaptive, constantly revisiting ends, ways and means to ensure that coherence is maintained; accepting risk when it is manageable, constantly seeking optimum ways of doing things and only ever compromising ambition when absolutely necessary.

If pressed, therefore, to describe a military fit for future challenges rather than past conflicts, it would be a military that embraces the need for continuous adaptation which I would favour: a military imbued with the spirit of innovation rather than preservation. A military, you might reflect, not a million miles, in human terms, from the Royal Air Force of 1940. It will be an interesting few weeks; and your input will be most welcome.

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25 février 2015 3 25 /02 /février /2015 13:50
Mr Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology

Mr Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology


23 February 2015 Ministry of Defence and Philip Dunne MP

(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered at Chatham House)


Speech by Mr Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology.



Good Afternoon.

It’s a pleasure to be here today to take part in a timely discussion…

…as we prepare to run the triple gauntlet of a comprehensive spending review followed by a Strategic Defence and Security Review, and as you may have a noticed, both preceded by a General Election 75 days from today, or as I prefer to think of it polling stations open 1,736 hours from now.


Challenging times…require change

But looking beyond the horizon of domestic UK politics for a moment, to say these are challenging times is something of a British understatement.

The world is dangerous…and getting more so.

As a nation our appetite for taking risks with our security remains low.

While our national ambition for global influence remains resolute.

At the same time, budgets are being squeezed and traditional military advantage is being undermined by disruptive technology and hybrid warfare.

So if we’re to survive and thrive in this new international dynamic we need to think differently.

I’ll explain what I mean, shortly.

But before I do, I must emphasise that while creating and sustaining armed forces fit for the 21st century will not be plain sailing…for any nation…

In the UK, the prevailing wind is behind us.


Defence Transformation

Thanks to 5 years of defence reform, we’re on the right trajectory.

We’ve filled the black hole in the defence budget and balanced the books.

For the third consecutive year, we’ve published an affordable equipment plan, worth £163 billion over 10 years, with substantial headroom and flexibility built in…

We’ve rethought our approach to defence acquisition, redefining it along the principles of value for money and open procurement.

…and spelling it out in black and white in our 2012 white paper: ‘National security through technology’.

We’ve also got a grip on our big ticket procurement projects.

And you don’t just have to take my word for it.

We have in this country a National Audit Office admired around the world for its fearsome independence from the government of the day. Consequently its pronouncements on departmental performance, especially its report on major procurement projects, are eagerly anticipated by the Ministry of Defence each year.

So to illustrate how far we have transformed defence acquisition, you can do no better than look at the position we inherited from the NAO’s report on 2009, where the top 15 defence projects were a staggering £4.5 billion over budget in year and 336 months overdue.

Contrast this with last month’s NAO ‘Major projects report’ which confirmed the top 11 defence projects are £397 million under budget and in aggregate only 14 months over time.


A much leaner machine

And we have also got to grips with the formidable administrative machinery of the Ministry of Defence, where I see our transformation as an exemplar of this government’s approach to public service reform.

Head Office is smaller, more focused and more strategic. By the end of next month there will be 25,000 fewer civil servants supporting our armed forces, 2 times the proportionate head count reduction of the frontline.

Budgets have been devolved to the front line commands…with the men and women at the coalface taking responsibility for spending decisions.

And, when it comes to our corporate services, we’ve injected some re-invigorating private sector expertise…only last Thursday I announced the preferred bidder for outsourcing the logistics, services and commodities activity to bring defence’s antiquated inventory management and logistics into the 21st century.

Our Head Office now adopts a more commercial approach…ensuring we are a more intelligent customer; better able to get high-quality equipment and services at best value for the taxpayer.


Equipment coming on stream

Over the past year alone we’ve made a steady stream of investments in next generation kit and delivered new capability into service.

This includes:

On land, the biggest armoured fighting vehicle order for the British Army in a generation, a £3.5 billion contract for 589 fully digitalised Scout specialist vehicles…

At sea, the floating up of the Royal Navy’s flagship Queen Elizabeth Carrier, followed by confirmation it will be joined in service by our second operational aircraft carrier.

And only last Friday, the Prime Minister announced an £859 million contract for long lead items for the first 3 of our next generation Type 26 frigates.

Beneath the oceans, the launch of HMS Artful, the third of seven Astute class hunter-killer submarines.

In the air, the arrival of the Royal Air Force’s first A400M Atlas transport aircraft, which this month I helped christen the City of Bristol to reflect the contribution that city is making and will make to this programme for years to come.

And last July the Prime Minister announced an extra £800 million of investment in intelligence and surveillance assets for our emerging cyber domain.

The contrast with the previous administration’s legacy couldn’t be starker:

where there was a £38 billion budget black hole, now there is a balanced budget; where there were cost overruns, now there are cost savings; where equipment deliveries were years late, now they are either on time or a few months behind,

in short, where there was chaos, now there is competence.

But we’re not complacent.

Which is why we’re continually working to perpetuate the transformative and progressive culture that has carried us this far.

More specifically…as I said earlier…we’re ensuring that from first to last… everyone in UK defence thinks differently.

More innovatively.

More imaginatively

And more internationally.

And I’d like to touch on how we’re doing that when it comes to defence procurement.


First: thinking more innovatively

Firstly, thinking more innovatively…an imperative if we’re to prepare for the world as it will be…not as we hope it will be.

Because it’s innovation that delivers the military productivity so key to realising successful military outcomes in a climate of continuing budget pressure.

What’s more, it’s innovation that underpins national prosperity…driving productivity and helping us move towards an export led recovery.

And the wheel turns, neatly, full circle when you consider that a strong economy is the wellspring of strategic strength.

With such high stakes, and a return to a more contingent posture following drawdown from Afghanistan, the MOD is focusing our efforts to unlock innovation wherever we can.

So we’re protecting our S&T spend…ensuring it remains at least 1.2% of the defence budget…

…And we’re investing an increasing amount of that on research into game-changing “disruptive” capability…

This year it was around £40 million.

Next year, we hope to increase that to £60 million.

Meanwhile, our Centre for Defence Enterprise develops novel high risk, high potential benefit innovations on everything from complex weapons to sensor navigation and guidance.

At a showcase earlier this month I saw for myself some of this new research effort into analysing social media trends to identify potential threats of tomorrow.

But investing in innovation is only the start…

We must weave it into the very DNA of defence procurement.

Which is why we’re increasing opportunities for SMEs …where entrepreneurs and scientists provide the niche capability and groundbreaking ideas that give us the edge.

And we’re doing that by making our procurement procedures more transparent, simpler and faster…

…engaging SMEs through a dedicated forum, which I chair…

…and setting ourselves challenging targets through an SME action plan.

And beyond the confines of MOD, we’re working with defence primes…encouraging them to open up their supply chains…

…not just to those in the defence business but to SMEs from across the spectrum…from computer gaming to motorsports.

Because military technology is no longer the main driver of civilian sector advances…it’s increasingly the other way around.

And we’re doing this…amongst other ways…via the Defence Growth Partnership…

…bringing together the best brains in industry, government and academia…

…fostering a collaborative environment to ensure the UK defence industry becomes more innovative, sustainable and competitive.

Things are moving fast.

The DGP’s Centre for Maritime Intelligence Systems in Portsmouth is up and running…a UK Centre of Excellence, to become a test bed for new systems and technology that can be sold around the world.

And it’s soon to be followed by the Defence Solutions Centre in Farnborough, which I have high hopes will also become an international centre of excellence for defence innovation.

So we’re doing our best…but we are also asking industry to step up to the mark.

Which is why we are looking to recalibrate our relationship.

Whereas, in the past, defence contractors looked upon the MOD as a benevolent cash cow that would fund its R&D, and then also pay for any development cost overruns…

Under our stewardship…working with industry…we’ve established a new mechanism to share pain and gain equally above a realistic threshold by aligning our interests more closely.

I want to see industry adopt this partnership approach more widely.

Not just identifying and managing risk and opportunity but also bearing and sharing it, in a spirit of partnership as we develop capabilities for a broader defence (and sometimes adjacent civilian) customer base.

But our ask goes beyond risk.

We’re now demanding that ‘exportability’ is actively considered from the very beginning of the acquisition cycle…

…because developing bespoke capability just for the UK attracts a cost premium that is not always justifiable, or affordable.

This will require industry and government to work together to assess our own requirements in the full context of the global export market…

…sharing both the opportunities and risks that come from developing ‘export ready’ capability.

But done properly the potential benefits are tangible:

First, the MOD gets the best kit for the best price.

Second, industry will reap the rewards of a virtuous circle of innovation, exportability and productivity.

And third, UK PLC will benefit from greater security and prosperity.

Which brings me on to my second point.


Second: thinking more imaginatively

Because…just as we cannot defend our security interests from Fortress Britain, neither can we advance our prosperity solely from within our shores.

Which is why, when it comes to building a strong UK defence industrial base capable of exploiting innovation to its greatest effect…we must be increasingly imaginative in the way we champion foreign investment on the one hand and exports on the other.

So, through our Defence and Security Industrial Engagement Policy…we’re encouraging overseas primes to extend opportunities for UK innovators to become part of their supply chains.

The UK defence industry is rightly proud of its place as the broadest and deepest supply chain outside the US. We have more companies engaged in defence and security than France, Germany and Italy combined.

But we are also using wider government initiatives…

…Like reducing corporation tax to one of the lowest rates in the EU’s big 5 economies…

…tax reliefs for R&D and exploiting patents.

…and deregulation

…to ensure the UK remains the number one choice in Europe for foreign direct investment.

Our success is manifest.

As just one example, more than 30% of Saab’s Gripen multi-role fighter aircraft is supplied by British industry.

And when it comes to banging the drum for UK defence exports, we’ve worked hard too.

Through the DGP we’ve been strengthening the roles and capabilities of UKTI’s Defence and Security Organisation.

While, from the Prime Minister down, ministers have taken every opportunity to promote UK defence products across the world.

Far from being embarrassed, as frankly many in the previous administration were, supporting the British defence industry is something we’re proud to do… as I was leading the UK delegation of 80 British companies at IDEX in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

This is not least because we know we have the most robust and comprehensive export licensing process anywhere.

And when it comes to success, the figures speak for themselves:

Year on year growth in defence exports…

And a 22% share of the global defence market…making us the second largest exporter of new defence products and services, behind the US.

No less crucial are the diplomatic returns we get from engaging with other countries…

…returns that make exports a pillar of our international defence engagement strategy…and, ultimately, our national security.


Thirdly: Thinking more internationally.

Which brings me to my third point: thinking more internationally.

Because in this increasingly interconnected world, if we’re to stay ahead of the game…

From first to last, we must pool our resources more widely, a key tenet of our white paper.

It means collaborating on science and technology, as we do with 18 nations, including, of course, the US…

…with whom we have around 100 joint research and development arrangements currently underway.

And with whom I hope we can explore the potential for more joint working under their third offset strategy.

It means developing and procuring capability together…

…multilaterally as with the A400M…

Or bilaterally…as we’ve done with the French on the FASGW missile system or with US on the Common Missile Compartment.

Sometimes, it’ll mean working as equal partners, sometimes it’ll mean differing levels of national commitment, and sometimes it’ll simply mean agreeing to buy off each other’s shelf…as we’re exploring with the US when it comes to Scout and Striker.

Each approach presents pros and cons.

But whichever one we take…I believe it’s inevitable and desirable that UK capability programmes will become increasingly international.

And, if I’m right, it’ll be vital to work hand in glove with our allies and partner nations to make this shift in a coordinated and intelligent fashion…

…Ensuring we can align acquisition, access each other’s markets…and see capability collaboration for what it really is: a force multiplier and a pooling of the market; not a mechanism for eroding national sovereignty, competition or profit.

What’s more, by adopting common equipment platforms, interfaces and standards, our armed forces will be better able to interoperate with our allies…

Making collaborations more than just the sum of their parts when meeting the onslaught of emerging and rapidly evolving threats.



So as we approach the next SDSR

…despite the challenging targets the MOD has had for the last 5 years…

…defence can enter the process from a position of much greater strength than the doomsayers suggest…

…a strength that is the legacy of 5 years of imagination, innovation and internationalism…

…offset by a regime of realism, efficiency and prudence.

UK defence is in a far, far better place today than we were 5 years ago.

I firmly believe that whoever holds the reins of power…

And of course now 20 minutes closer to the polls opening, I am increasingly positive about the prospects that this will be the party I have the honour to be part of….

But whoever has the rare privilege of joining the ministerial team in the Ministry of Defence, I am sure that if they continue on the course we have set…

As a nation, working closely in concert with our international allies, we will find opportunity in adversity…

To deliver security through defence…

…to secure the future for Britain.

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